The pandemic revealed glaring inequalities when it comes to access to digital tools. Patrick de la Hamette, president of educational and circular economy not-for-proft Digital Inclusion, explains.
Cordula Schnuer: What can we learn from the pandemic about digital inclusion?
Patrick de la Hamette: Since 2016 we promote universal access to digital technologies in Luxembourg for the benefit of inclusion in society. During the pandemic it became very obvious that many households lacked computers needed for remote working and home schooling. When we launched, we mostly helped refugees, but every year there have been more people needing support.
What are your plans for 2021?
Demand remains high for our refurbished IT devices and our free computer classes and coaching; we continue this mission in 2021. We also want to raise awareness for circular economy concepts and urge people and companies in Luxembourg to donate their used laptops. On an international scale, we hope to inspire similar projects abroad with the help of the European Commission.
And your hopes for the future?
Luxembourg is a digital frontrunner. The majority of people have good digital access, but those who don’t are being increasingly left behind. In 2020 it became clear that having internet access at home has become a necessity in order to fully participate in citizenship, the labour market, education and more. Maybe it’s still utopian in 2021, but one of my hopes for the future would be that Luxembourg one day becomes the first country to offer free fixed-line internet to all of its citizens, the same way we made public transport free.